Over 30 years ago, as a pediatric resident at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, I watched mothers visit their tiny newborns admitted to the NICU, and they were overwhelmed. Many of these moms had never seen an OB-GYN physician nor had any prenatal care prior to delivery. The first time they accessed the healthcare system was in the emergency room of their local hospital, delivering a premature baby, who would often spend weeks in the NICU. This was my introduction to the world of healthcare – and the world of healthcare inequity.

Today, obstetrics, technology, and public health initiatives have all improved, but health inequity persists. Our rates of maternal mortality, preterm births and newborn complications are still too high. In 2018, Philadelphia’s maternal mortality rate was close to 20 deaths per 100,000 live births – tracking well above the United States’ national rate at 17.4 deaths per 100,000 births, notably the highest rate of any developed nation.

Dr. Ellie Stang, a board-certified pediatrician, is founder and CEO of Philadelphia-based ProgenyHealth.

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